Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past 12-18 months of the site’s history, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts featuring the Canadian-born, Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstay electro pop artist, filmmaker and photojournalist Alexander Stewart and her solo recording project ACES, and as you may recall with the release of her first three singles, the achingly vulnerable “What Do You Think They’ll Say About Me,” the part torch song, part wistful and tender farewell “I’m Already Gone” and the slow-burning Quiet Storm-era R&B inspired pop song “Find Me Out,” established a reputation for a subtly modern and atmospheric take on cinematic, 80s synth pop.
Earlier this year, Stewart released her highly-anticipated Ian Miller-produced debut EP, Stranger, and with the release of the EP’s first two singles — the tender and contemplative “If I Could Be Your Girl,” which features a narrator, who has recognized that her object of accession isn’t good for her, and that she may have to make the painful and difficult decision to end the relationship for good; and the icily ambivalent tell off “Baby, I Don’t Mean to Ignore,” which possesses an push and pull between longing and devotion, wanting to be left alone and of being hopelessly stuck in one’s own head and not quite knowing how to express themselves in a way that makes sense or offends someone.
Stranger‘s third and final single, EP title track “Stranger” will further cement Stewart’s growing reputation for crafting Quiet Storm-like, atmospheric synth pop that thematically focuses on the complex and confusing intricacies of romantic relationships — and in this case, Stewart’s latest single focuses on the surreal sensation of coming across a former lover for the first time in a while and recognizing that the person you used to know so well has become a total stranger. And while that’s a familiar theme in pop music, “Stranger” possesses a bitterly plaintive ache over a lost relationship that has become an accumulation of one’s growing past. Along with that there’s an anxiousness over being uncertain over how you should respond to this former lover, who still causes your heart to swoon but who also has engendered a deep bitterness. We’ve all been there at some point or another, and even with some age and experience, it never stops being profoundly strange and embittering.
Directed by frequent collaborator Oresti Tsonopolous and produced by Stewart, the gorgeously shot black and white video was reportedly completely improvised and filmed in a single night while Stewart was jet-lagged from an extended international trip she took as a travel and style photojournalist. And as you’ll see, Stewart busily goes through a text exchange and gets ready for what turns out to be a made up night out but while capturing the uncertainty and bitterness of seeing that stranger from the past — seemingly evoking the ambivalent emotions and anxiety one would typically feel about such a situation.